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Posted by Rev. Sally Dolch ● Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 13:02 PM

Renewal for Clergy at Voice of the Heart Retreat

Francis_No_Flowers.jpgClergy Colleagues – Recently, I was reading in Lasting Impact  (Carey Nieuwhof) about ten healthy options for self-care. They really hit home because they are making a difference in my life and ministry!

1- A great time daily with God; 2-Exercise; 3-A healthy diet; 3-Proper sleep; 5-Intentional white space in your calendar; 6-Healthy friendships; 7-Margin; 8-Hobbies; 9-Family time; 10-Coaches and counseling.

You see, two years ago, many of these practices in my pastoral life had rearranged themselves and I found myself with low energy and a lot of difficulty refueling from the too high expectations of ministry.

As it turned out, even when I tried to set boundaries, I was not living into a lot of those healthy options.

And then. . . someone suggested The Voice of the Heart clergy retreat, a directed time away to reflect on the demands of ministry and the Christian life.

The 2014 group was small, diverse, and it seemed that each one of us was at a place of some roadblocks in our walks with God.

I know we often use the vessel metaphor for our lives, especially in Christian leadership. If there are cracks in the vessel it surely means they need patching with reflection and perhaps some of those healthy options.

But how can we shift gears in the midst of so much busy-ness?

During the retreat we talked and prayed. We worked at some art and reflection, sometimes alone, sometimes together. That’s because, when people are isolated, as clergy can be – it’s good to be with others who know the journey.

Yet, it is also good to be given time in silence to hear the voices in our own hearts, all the while knowing we are not alone.

The wait between the three day meeting in April to the three day meeting in October was a long time. However, it was shortened for each of us through a summer meeting with the conversation partner we paired up with in April.

And in those months, we were encouraged to read Richard Foster’s awesome book Prayer.

I anticipated the October session with more readiness as I had already begun to embrace some of the healthy options and because I cared about the others in the group.

I have never before or yet again experienced anything like our prayer time in October.  I heard the voices of each heart and I am certain that other hearts heard mine.

The presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable!

My clergy colleagues, if you need or are seeking renewal for your heart and spirit, I urge you to consider the Voice of the Heart 2016 for you will find nurture and nourishment for your soul. 

The 2016 Voice of the Heart sessions take place April 12 -14 and October 18 - 20. For more information, visit the Voice of the Heart page or contact Rev. Megan Shitama Weston (410-556-6900 x104). 

Topics: Faith Formation